Angry Ansari proposes dispensing with question hour
Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari Tuesday expressed anguish over the repeated disruptions of question hour and proposed to reschedule it or dispense with it altogether because of the frequent noisy scenes.
He said the members had the option of moving question hour to another part of the day or dispense with it altogether as they did not seem to give great importance to questions being answered.
Ansari articulated his views after the opposition repeatedly disrupted the question hour over international supermarket chain Wal-Mart reportedly spending Rs.125 crore on lobbying activities in the US, including for enhanced market access for investment in retail trade in India.
Soon after the house met, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members demanded that question hour should be suspended to take up the issue of lobbying by Wal-Mart. They were joined by members from other opposition parties.
The chairman repeatedly requested the members to allow question hour to proceed.
"This is question hour. Please allow it to proceed. You should not display any papers," he said.
Members from the Samajwadi Party, th Trinamool Congress and the Janata Dal-United also sought to make their points amid the din.
Sukhendu Sekhar Roy of the Trinamool Congress demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should make a statement on the issue.
An anguished chairman asked the members to sit down and said a siutation has arisen when the chair ha to helplessly watch disruption of question hour very frequently.
"A situation has arisen in which the chair has to watch helplessly disruption of the question hour very frequently. I, therefore, propose to call a meeting of rules committee and put before the members of the committee two options. One, that the question hour be moved to another part of the day. Two, since members don't seem to attach very great importance to the questions being answered, the question hour be dispensed with altogether," Ansari said.
Question hour is used in parliament by members to seek answers from the government on issues of concern.